Continuous glucose monitoring CGMS
A continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night.
There are several approved devices -- Medtronic iPro device, DexCom G4 device, and the Navigator, for example -- that can provide up to many blood sugar measurements continuously. The doctors at Houston Thyroid and Endocrine use this technology to help manage a patient's blood sugars.
How is it placed?
First, a tiny glucose-sensing device called a "sensor" is inserted just under the skin of the abdomen. The insertion is quick, and is usually not painful. Tape is used to hold it in place.
The sensor measures the level of glucose (painlessly) in the tissue every 5 minutes and sends the information via a wire to a cell phone-sized device monitor that you attach to a belt or a wireless device in your purse/pocket. The system automatically records an average glucose value every five minutes for up to seven days.
Results of at least 1-2 finger stick blood sugar readings taken with a standard glucose meter and taken at different times each day are entered into the monitor for calibration. Any insulin taken, exercise engaged in, and meals or snacks consumed are both entered into a digital "diary" and then recorded into the monitor. They are recorded by pushing a button to mark the time of the meals, medication, exercise, and other special event you wish to record.
After the three- to seven-day time period, the sensor is removed by you or at the doctor's office and the information stored in the CGMS is downloaded into a computer. Your endocrinologist can then review your blood sugar levels in relation to the other data collected and make any necessary adjustments in your diabetes management plan. The information will be presented as graphs or charts that can help reveal patterns of glucose fluctuations.
When is this used?
The continuous glucose monitor is not intended for day-to-day monitoring or long-term self-care, and it is not a replacement for standard blood sugar monitoring. It is only intended for use to discover trends in blood sugar levels. This helps your health care team make the most appropriate decisions regarding your diabetes treatment plan.